Two killed on Helsingborg building site

Two building workers were crushed to death and a third man was seriously injured after concrete blocks fell from the roof of an industrial building in Helsingborg, southern Sweden, on Friday.

The three workers were trapped under the heavy debris, and it took an hour for the surviving man to be freed and taken to hospital. The man was anaesthatised at the scene by a doctor.

A fourth person sustained light injuries and was also taken to hospital in Helsingborg.

According to Göran Bertilsson, of Helsingborg’s fire brigade, it was still not certain that more people had been killed and were still trapped under the fallen blocks. The debris had been searched by rescue dogs.

“We don’t believe that there are any more survivors [trapped in the rubble],” he said.

The cause of the accident was not yet clear on Friday. Thirty people were in the unfinished industrial building when the concrete roof collapsed. The debris fell over a 150 square metre area.

The accident happened just before 10 am. Afterwards a large area around the building was sealed off by police to help the rescue services’ work. The operation was risky for rescuers because of the danger of further collapses.

The main building contractor on the site, Peab, called in crisis teams to take care of shocked workers.

“We have trained crisis leaders wherever we have operations,” said Karin Malmgren, Peab lawyer and member of the company’s central crisis leader group.

On Friday police questioned some of the key staff from the site about the circumstances leading up to the accident. An expert from the Swedish Work Environment Authority also made a first inspection of the site.

“But there’s not much we can do straight away,” said Mats Ryderheim, assistant director of the authority in Malmö.

“The staff must go through crisis management first,” he said.

According to Ryderheim a discussion is going on in the building trade about the effect on safety of increased demands for building projects to be finished quickly.

“Nonetheless, there tend to be fewer serious accidents on building sites in Sweden than in other countries,” he said.

TT/The Local